There is a concept in life (and Guinness advertisements) that fortune favors the bold. The key takeaway, of course, is that while we may not explicitly “make our own luck” as they say, those most willing to take a metaphorical plunge into the great unknown are those who are most likely to flourish. In essence, there’s no potential reward without taking a risk.
To me, this point in the off-season represents the greatest unknown – and therefore the greatest risk – we’ll see during the dynasty year. To that point, NFL free agency hasn’t yet opened, and we’re still months away from the rookie draft. Even the inception of the Alliance of American Football serves to muddy the waters with intrigue, offering yet another outlet for future NFL talent.
Given that, making trades to supplement perceived roster needs becomes little more than pure educated guesswork. We don’t know where free agents and rookies will land, and depth charts now aren’t guaranteed to represent the depth charts in May. The player you acquire in February could see his value fluctuate wildly without he himself gaining or losing an ounce of skill. As we all know, there are two immutable truths about a player’s situation: situation matters, and situation changes.
Continuing, my belief is there exists a fractional subset of players possessing the highest potential for reward, but also the largest amount of risk: impending free agents. In short, we don’t know where they’re going, and their values are more than likely going to change due to that pending landing spot. Much like the stock market we so like to compare dynasty fantasy football to, there’s a massive possibility for impending variance.
Getting back to the first paragraph and subsequent premise for this article, owners who acquire these free agents can see their fortunes enhanced immeasurably, at least relative to the cost. In that spirit, I’ve highlighted a few players below who I believe are worth a look to owners looking to swing for the fences. Of course, this remains part of the equation – in order to receive something, we have to give something as well.
Keeping with the theme, the other half of the transaction can include the type of currency that, seemingly no matter what, gains value during the off-season: rookie draft picks. It’s a fitting mirror image – trading risk viewed negatively (veteran free agents) for risk viewed positively (shiny new toys). Ironically, as Jacob Feldman showed in his previous off-season work, rookie picks actually represent riskier investments (especially in the later rounds), but quite simply aren’t viewed that way when Rookie Fever hits.
Given the totality of the above, included for each player is a brief synopsis of why he makes for a good trade target, as well as a range for compensation (in terms of rookie draft picks). These ranges tack towards the conservative, given most owners’ penchant for preferring rookie draft pick currency. Regardless, they’re meant to highlight the overarching theme that the veteran misfit toys could be had for a lesser cost when it comes to the hot new things.
You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.